Sunderland secure African sponsorship deal
Sunderland AFC have secured a unique African sponsorship deal with Invest in Africa. The team will wear the logo of the not-for-profit organisation on their shirts for the next two years. Tullow Oil, Africa's largest independent oil company, is the founding partner in an initiative which seeks to promote fresh investment in the continent.
Former foreign secretary and Sunderland vice-chairman David Miliband helped the club secure the deal. The club claim it is the most lucrative sponsorship in their history, although they are not releasing any figures.
Tullow Oil chief executuve Aidan Heavey claimed that Sunderland AFC would become 'the Premier League club in Africa. Everyone will be wearing the Sunderland shirt. At a stroke, this association will make Sunderland the most popular club in Africa.'
Well, it's not quite as simple as that. The reason that people in Africa follow clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea is success on the pitch. It is certainly a growing market with 300 million people regularly watching Premiership football, but there is some way to go before Sunderland become the most popular club.